August 27, 2014

DAVID ADESNIK: The Tea Party’s Surprisingly Hawkish Foreign Policy.

Two things: First, it’s not so much “hawkish” as Jacksonian, in Walter Russell Mead’s formulation. As Mead put it: “For the first Jacksonian rule of war is that wars must be fought with all available force. The use of limited force is deeply repugnant. Jacksonians see war as a switch that is either “on” or “off.” They do not like the idea of violence on a dimmer switch. Either the stakes are important enough to fight for—in which case you should fight with everything you have—or they are not, in which case you should mind your own business and stay home. . . . The second key concept in Jacksonian thought about war is that the strategic and tactical objective of American forces is to impose our will on the enemy with as few American casualties as possible. The Jacksonian code of military honor does not turn war into sport. It is a deadly and earnest business.”

Second, the Tea Party is about restricting the federal government to its constitutionally-defined roles. Defense of the nation is a constitutionally defined role.